Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 16 July 2022

Martyn Percy Surviving Church Respair in a Time of Tumult
Re-mortgaging the Church

Andrew Goddard Psephizo Bullying in the Church of England: Theological and Ethical Perspectives

Ian Paul Psephizo What does ordination training need to include?

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Charles Clapham
24 days ago

I have to say I don’t disagree substantially with Ian Paul’s syllabus – even as someone who would be regarded as (or accused of being!) theologically liberal – and I also rather agree that the quality of theological discussion in the contemporary church is often rather poor, at all levels. (Where we probably disagree is HOW each of these areas is taught, or what ideologically slant is brought to bear, rather than THAT they should be taught to ordinands!). . But his proposals add up to 26 modules (if I’ve counted correctly, and if we assume each bullet point requires… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Charles Clapham
24 days ago

Durham university has 10 credit and 20 credit modules. You need 120 credits for a Certificate, 240 for a Diploma and 360 for a degree. There is disparity regarding classroom hours but many TEIs will do what we (ERMC) do which is 10 hours for a 10 credit module and 20 for 20 credits. Dissertations are commonly 60 credits but of course do not involve classroom learning.

Charles Clapham
24 days ago

Further to which, I can add how much I appreciated a theological conversation not so long ago with a conservative evangelical colleague who made an aside about the Gorham Case, and also described the historical episcopate in passing as the ‘bene esse’ of the church. I disagreed with him on both counts – but we were at least able to have a conversation informed by the history and theology of Anglicanism (which is increasingly rare, I fear).

Stanley Monkhouse
24 days ago

Concerning ordination training. I recall commenting previously on TA about the way in which discussions about ordination training echo those on medical training ongoing since the 1980s. I could bore you all rigid with details, but it’s getting too hot even to lift a finger to type so I’ll condense. Please bear in mind that in so doing nuances are lost. The mistake that the medical education “experts” made was to chuck out baby with bathwater. Basic science (anatomy, physiology, biochemistry etc) was decimated, replaced by soft stuff that is less fact-based (psychology, sociology, educational theory etc) with the result… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
24 days ago

As someone who has been through training both as a nurse and as a Licensed Lay Minister I would support Stanley’s suggestion that you need a structured package incorporating both pre and post ordination/registration training. I did my pre-registration nurse training (3 years full time) then got a job, and decided where I wanted to specialise, then after about three years experience my employer supported me through a further three years of day release academic study which topped up my initial HNC to an honours degree. Such post-registration study was the expected thing, and there was no way you could… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Simon Dawson
Susannah Clark
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
24 days ago

Like Simon, I trained as a registered nurse. I found the teaching rigorous and demanding. All that said, 50% of the three-year course was spent on hospital wards, and the combination of the two was crucial. Additionally, the NHS expects all registered nurses to continue training after qualification, and to account for that further training in 3-yearly re-validation. Frankly, the 50% of the course on the ward was absolutely essential, and kept the vocation firmly rooted in the realities of the people we serve. Never regretted the practicality and the academic challenges of my nursing degree, and found the experience… Read more »

Last edited 24 days ago by Susannah Clark
Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
24 days ago

Is this yet another difference between UK and US Anglicans? Every incumbent priest I have ever known has pursued (or is pursuing) additional education while serving in their current position. Perhaps it is the difference between the way our clergy are hired/assigned? Continuing education in an applicant’s CV is something many parishes are looking for when they put out the call for a new rector or assistant.

John N Wall Jr
John N Wall Jr
Reply to  Pat ONeill
23 days ago

The Episcopal Church has a history of valuing a learned clergy. The Church defines in its Canons six areas of academic preparation for ordained ministry — The Holy Scriptures, History of the Christian Church, Christian Theology, The Practice of Ministry, Christian Worship, and Christian Ethics and Moral Theology. In general, we expect people aspiring to ordination to complete at least three years of post-undergraduate study in an accredited seminary leading to the degree of Master of Divinity (MDiv). Usually, aspirants are asked to attend one of several seminaries affiliated with the Episcopal Church. In addition, we have a national Board… Read more »

John N Wall Jr
John N Wall Jr
Reply to  Peter Owen
23 days ago

Yes! Thank you for this reference.

Kate
Kate
24 days ago

“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”

It seems to me that Ian Paul sees training as giving people several fish, rather than teaching how to fish. So for example he wants people to study several books of the Bible (I disagree with his specific choices) rather than teaching people how to read the Bible – which is the relevant skill anyway for leading Bible Study.

I also think he is massively over-emphasising tradition.

Father Ron Smith
24 days ago

I think there is one important aspect of ministry training in our world-wide Anglican Communion Churches that needs to be more thoroughly encouraged and taught – the saving power of the Sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion. How few sermons are preached about the teaching of Jesus in the Scriptures about these two sacraments of the Church! Their proper and vital contribution to Christian ministry is sometimes thought by educators – especially those of the more evangelical tradition like Ian Paul; as of lesser importance than the preparation of sermons and the ‘oughts and shoulds’ of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. What… Read more »

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
23 days ago

Ian does give due weight to baptism and communion in his syllabus but I think the point you are making leads us to another issue. When I started teaching liturgy in a theological college full time 23 years ago most colleges had a full time liturgy tutor on the staff. There are now very few liturgy specialists teaching in our residential colleges and I think I am the only such specialist teaching on a regional course as part of the core staff. Of course, there is other good liturgy teaching going on delivered by visiting lecturers and so on but… Read more »

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Charles Read
23 days ago

I’d be worried if my GP hadn’t studied medicine as a student. But in today’s CofE liturgy consists of singing trite songs and being able to grin whilst preaching nonsense. Little training is needed.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  FrDavid H
23 days ago

You can’t even take the common sense liturgical bits for granted either: I’ve seen knee length albs and a chasuble worn for a marriage service (not a nuptial Mass). Clergy at a confirmation service in an assortment of creased garments tumbling out of the vestry in the manner of drunks leaving the pub. A cleric wearing plimsolls under his cassock. All too depressing.

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Fr Dean
22 days ago

You are too easily depressed, Father! I have seen:

  • main Sunday services with no Bible readings in them
  • no clear absolution used
  • unauthorised eucharistic prayers which are not proper eucharistic prayers – at least one written by the priest himself

I could go on…..

David Runcorn
David Runcorn
Reply to  Charles Read
22 days ago

I share these concerns but let’s not talk as if this is all new or one sided. Newly ordained, forty years ago, I regularly saw evangelicals omitting, re-writing, ‘correcting’ or simply misunderstanding official liturgies, and Anglo-Catholics, missals under their arm, ‘adding’ bits to the words, theology and rituals of the mass.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Charles Read
22 days ago

When I did my sabbatical in 2011 in Australia NZ and California I noticed that all the clergy I met were smartly dressed, had had a recent haircut and the men who had beards kept them neatly trimmed. The contrast with English clergy was stark. It’s a simple matter of bishops imposing a smart dress code and enforcing it. For heavens sake they don’t fight shy of micromanaging every other aspect of our professional lives, so why hold back with scrofulous clergy?

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Fr Dean
22 days ago

Pass the smelling salts, Fr. I’d also ask the sartorial police to investigate bishops who pray with their hats on.

Also I’ve seen a Team Rector including surnames when baptizing and marrying, a presbyter wearing a smile of quite terrifying orthodontic correctness say: “We welcome you, Lord, to our house of prayer”, and marriage preface said with all the sexy stuff excised (children still being brought by the stork presumably).

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Fr Dean
22 days ago

I wonder how “common” is the sense that knee length albs and a chasuble should or should not be worn for a marriage service.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
22 days ago

Slightly paraphrased, Canon B 8.5 states “at the Solemnization of Matrimony [or a service for the burial of the dead] the minister shall wear a surplice or alb with scarf or stole or shall adopt such other form of dress as the minister agrees with the persons concerned.”

Wearing the chasuble, a Eucharistic vestment, is irregular and inappropriate unless with the specific agreement of the happy couple or if, as Fr Dean points out, it is a nuptial Mass.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
22 days ago

Thanks. That makes sense, but is not what I would call “common sense”. Common sense might say such things as “don’t perform a service in your underpants”, but apparently that isn’t so obvious either (Tribunals March 2022)

Last edited 22 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
22 days ago

I fear Rowland I have seen pictures of weddings where the officiant was a clergyman of the C of E wearing suit,shirt and tie with the bride in white dress and veil and the groom in top hat and tails. Sadly for me that I had been the DDO of said clergyman.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Perry Butler
22 days ago

So much for Canon Law!

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
21 days ago

I’m afraid Rowland during the afternoon session on canon law led by an archdeacon with new clergy on what was once called POT I heard various comments like. “I didn’t know we had any” “Isn’t canon law Roman Catholic?”. “There’s stuff about wearing robes, goodness”…………..

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Fr Dean
22 days ago

Why do I get the feeling that a lot of folk in the UK are obsessed with the clothes their priests wear? Maybe the alb was knee-length because the fellow was rather tall and that was the longest one available? Maybe the cleric wore plimsolls because he has problems with his feet and his doctor prescribed soft shoes?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Pat ONeill
22 days ago

I’m afraid in some quarters the concept of “the sacred vestments” seems to be on the wane. Fr Dean, if I understand him correctly, thinks this is due to ignorance or disrespect, or both. I happen to agree with him! I have mentioned before my solitary experience of the TEC. Proper Eucharistic vestments were worn: absolutely no compromises.

Not a coincidence that in English cathedrals the Sacrist is in charge of such matters and in some parishes, a Sacristan.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Pat ONeill
22 days ago

I am spending the summer leading our services in an open necked shirt and stole. And I don’t think God will enjoy our worship any the less because of it. St. Margaret’s has large windows and the sanctuary gets very warm.

Last edited 22 days ago by Tim Chesterton
Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
22 days ago

But why the stole, or perhaps the stole with just a sleeveless vest? I don’t think a dignified dress code is unreasonable. Police officers manage 12 hour shifts in their uniform why shouldn’t the clergy take a service or two wearing liturgical vestments?

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Fr Dean
22 days ago

Yup, I do that for ten months of the year.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
21 days ago

In the summer months here in the Philadelphia suburbs, our rector routinely does the Liturgy of the Word in alb and stole, and only dons the chasuble for the Eucharist.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Pat ONeill
21 days ago

That, in the C of E, is correct and, without knowing, I assume the same in TEC. The chasuble is solely a Eucharistic vestment, at least that is my understanding, and wearing it on other occasions is irregular.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
21 days ago

What I mean, in case I wasn’t clear, is that she does everything before the Eucharistic prayer begins in alb and stole and then puts on the chasuble as the gifts are brought to the altar.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Pat ONeill
21 days ago

That seems appropriate and consistent.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Charles Read
23 days ago

Charles, you’re being teasingly coy. By “a certain institution which seems to be flavour of the month with many bishops and DDOs”, I take it you mean St Mellitus?

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Allan Sheath
23 days ago

It might be worth asking those on this course who came from more liturgical / sacramental i.e. more Catholic backgrounds what they made of the worship that was on offer. I have

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Charles Read
23 days ago

If liturgical formation is so thin, where will the future liturgy tutors come from?

Charles Read
Charles Read
Reply to  Mark Bennet
22 days ago

We ask ourselves this often. At least two of my own students are now teaching liturgy a bit so I am feeling righteous!

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Charles Read
22 days ago

It is surely ironic that despite the effort over many decades and the production of Common Worship C of E worship is now so diverse that we are losing even a family resemblance.. ( In places liturgy has been more or less abandoned and many parishes under the PEVs use the Roman rite).The Orthodox of course see the liturgy as the main element in the formation of the People of God. I wonder in what sense ( if any) Anglicans:in England , (I think in other Provinces they take allegiance to their prayer book more seriously) could be said to… Read more »

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Perry Butler
22 days ago

In crude terms, is the liturgy handed down or is something we author? If the latter, at a time when the notion of liturgical formation is alien and in a culture that rewards innovation, CW’s vast store of texts was always going to be a gift to the college of liturgical tinkerers. For some, even authorised/commended texts are not enough, with ill thought out add-ons suggesting the liturgy is their plaything rather than the people’s prayer. These often also promote poor theology: e.g. inserting ‘those whom you love’ into a blessing is pastoral at the graveside, but from the chair… Read more »

Susannah Clark
23 days ago

I’ll copy what I wrote on Ian’s website: One area that I believe is really important is ‘spirituality and prayer’. I realise that spiritual formation will also be developed by the very act of living in community during the training, but I mean *teaching* about the history of spiritual practice, study of traditions like contemplation, and the practice of prayer explored as part of the teaching course. ‘Community’ is essential, not only as lived experience with fellow trainees, but the study of what community means, spiritually, practically within church life, and in relation to the actual communities where the local… Read more »

Peter
Peter
23 days ago

There is surely a place for “bare foot” christian ministers (to borrow the medical model used in China where “bare foot” doctors once delivered much primary care in rural China on the back of six months training rather than the full medical training of many years). Perhaps LLM/Reader training is the Church of England’s version of the model. However, speaking as a Reader myself, everything hinges on the willingness of an incumbent to take LLM/Reader training seriously – which is by no means guaranteed ! I take no pleasure at all in saying this, but I observe the Church of… Read more »

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